"If at age 20 you are a conservative then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are a liberal then you have no brains."
Sir Winston Churchill

Obama obviously knows very little about economics, specifically that "Society stagnates when independent productive achievers begin to be socially demonized and even punished for their accomplishments." This dilemma fogs Obama's reality. To him, accepting this truth is a "false choice", his answer to things he doesn't understand. And by the way... where is John Galt?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


June 6th turned into June 7th as the survivors of the initial landings began to leave the beach heads and move inland.  In their wake came thousands of more allied troops discharging from their landing crafts in shoulder high water to avoid booby traps and mines close to the five landing zones.  Operation Overlord was one day old.

Once up and over the bluffs that overlooked the beaches, the men found themselves confronting miles of hedgerows stretching from Cherbourg to Alecon and Mayenne , north to south, and from Falaise and Argentan to Avaranches, east to west.  They called this advance "Operation Cobra".

The hedgerows were ancient  from  Roman times and were called "Le Bocage" by the people of Normandy.

They consisted of earthen banks 5 to 6 feet high and 12 feet wide across the bottom.  They were anchored together by trees on their top and thick dense vegetation on their sides  whose root systems combined to make them as solid as stone walls.  They had been built to delineate land boundaries and provide natural fencing for pasture and farm land.
[Section of Typical Normandy Hedgerow]

Taken as a whole they formed a crazy patchwork maze with sunken roads caused by the buildup of earth to form the hedges. These roads were the only means to travel through the maze by wagon or motor vehicle.  Each field rimmed by these hedgerows had one entrance and the Allies had no maps. 

Some riflemen believed that their higher ups had  imagined manicured hedges on level ground such as would be found back home when they had made their plans.  Instead they found themselves in terrain that contained the worst elements of the trench warfare of the WWI and the jungle fighting of the war in the Pacific.
Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt and his subordinate Field Marshall Erwin Rommel were of opposite minds as to how to stop and contain the Allied advance.  Rommel wanted to keep them on the beaches at all costs  and prevent them from taking Cherbourg with its port facilities and St. Lo on the river Vire which was 200 feet above sea level on a plateau.

Von Rundstedt wanted a more mobile defense.  Hitler needed to decide but did not so there was no coherent strategy at first.  Hitler was obsessed with the nightmare of an Allied break through to the plains of Western Europe and the low countries where the Blitzkrieg he and his Wehrmacht  had invented would be turned against him.

So almost by chance the hedgerows of Normandy became the new "Atlantic Wall" of "Festung Europa".

The Allied troops soon discovered that the enemy they faced was an international army with slave troops consisting of Russians, Cossacks, Poles, Chinese, Georgians, Mongolians, Koreans and Muslims.  These less than ardent defenders however were soon reinforced by 16,000 battle hardened, elite paratroopers from the 3rd FJ Division in Brittany.

Each hedgerow now became a redoubt with dug in and camouflaged riflemen, heavy machine guns, mortar teams and forward artillery spotters.  Snipers seemed to be in every tree.  As soon as troops entered the fields surrounded by the hedgerows that farmland would become a killing ground.

The tactics of the battle required that  the infantry and the tank crews work in tandem.  That in turn required getting the tanks off the sunken roads and into the fields where they could tear up the hedgerows with cannon fire and 50 mm machine guns and  destroy the enemy.

The Allies first began to blow holes in the hedgerows so their M4 Sherman Tanks could get into the fight.  They had learned the hard way that going up and over exposed their lightly armored under carriage to anti tank weapons.  Sgt. Curtis B. Culin of the 2nd Armored Division came up with the idea of retrofitting the tanks with "tusks" or "prongs" made from captured German steel to cut through the banks of the hedgerows, roots and all.  These became famous as the "Rhino" tanks due to their resemblance to a Rhinoceros.

File:Sherman Rhino Normandy 1944.JPG

Other tanks were fitted with bull dozer blades and they became "Dozer" tanks.  Soon the British retrofitted their Churchill tanks also.

The ingenuity of this adaptation also thwarted the German strategy of holding the intersections and junctions  of the sunken road network where they could wait to kill the Allied Armour they believed were constrained to the roads and not the fields.  By taking the tanks off the sunken roads the Allies were able to flank the hundreds of German traps and keep from being pushed back into the sea.

In Normandy in 1944, there were 14 hedgerows to the Kilometer.  The Allies were able to clear two a day.

By July, Cherbourg had been taken along with St. Lo by Omar Bradley's 1st Army.  The British under Field Marshall Sir Bernard Law Montgomery had taken Caen.  The Normandy Beachheads  were finally and forever secure.

The savage war in Le Bocage would continue for another month.  75% of Allied casualties were from mortars as the ancient fields and farms of Normandy were torn asunder and watered with the blood of two fierce armies.

In the end, Hitler's worst fears came true.  Once through the hedgerows all of western Europe lie ripe for the taking.  The Reich that was to last a thousand years had less than 8 months to live.


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